New Haven, CT --- 1989
This was when I was fairly young, and I was still confident that my Broca's Area was functioning (The Broca's Area is an area of the brain that is particularly intelligent in bilingual students). On this particular day in school---I think it was 3rd or 4th grade--- I was expropriated from school by John M. and his father. John was in the same grade, and later became known for stylized drawing and over-the-top potty humor. However, at the time John seemed pretty stable. At least in my hazy vision. Perhaps my mother thought we would make intelligent playmates. I may never know. the visit came as something of a surprise. But I found myself to be a little glad, because I found life at home stifling and boring---my mother had been a history major, and my father, who no longer lived with her, was interested in political statistics.
I can imagine we visited my future high school (the trip was meant as an intellectual jaunt, although it struck me as sneaky and illegal). We decided to to take a walk on Foster St. afterwards, which I thought was the street next to the school, but it turned out was where the M's lived, some blocks away. I kept mentioning something about a 'method' which made me feel intellectual. But John M. and his dad thought the method was about drinking alcohol, or as I later learned, doing drugs. They kept making jokes, which really bothered me. How could they take this illegal activity so lightly? But surely they had a moral to prove I thought. This thinking turned out to be disastrous.
As the dad was pouring grape juice for the both of us at the base of the stairs, a different character (perhaps his brother?) came down the stairs. He was holding a plastic bag, but I didn't think very much of that at first. They covered my eyes, so I couldn't tell what they were doing. Then one of them said 'huff it!' in a condescending tone. I tried not to breathe, but someone punched the sides of the bag together, and I got a big whiff of something. I felt slightly weird, and I could feel my brain cells disappearing quickly. I made up my mind in that moment that if I lived to tell the tale, I would become a highly intelligent person, just out of spite.
Then, if I remember, I woke up on the couch. Because I was still worried about whether he had poisoned the grape juice, I assumed that I had been drugged, and declared the urgency to get home. However, these characters seemed to think that nothing had gone wrong. They explained that I had just taken a bit of a long nap. And, at that age, I couldn't really think of anything to raise as a complaint. However, I was upset and worried. I couldn't actually tell if I was drunk or not.
When I got home, my mother was angry that it was so late (maybe it had even been an unplanned sleepover?) She also didn't want to hear anything about poisoned grape juice. The father had explained that there was 'little bit of an accident but everything was okay' and insisted that I agree with him, which I did, thinking that he had not known the drug would kill my brain cells. It was only later that I thought out that they clearly thought I had no brain cells to begin with, which was in a sense, the most tragic kind of joke.
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